For Catholics and other Christians concerned with church reform, a moving series of meditations on truth-telling
In the wake of last year’s pedophilia scandals in the Catholic church, we have begun to see a questioning of the relations between hierarchical power, secrecy, and sexuality in institutional religion. In this climate, Mark D. Jordan’s eloquent look at truth-telling in churchwhat truths about same-sex love and sexuality need to be told, and the difficulty of telling any truthscould not be more timely or more necessary.
The subtle and passionate meditations that make up Telling Truths in Church are thus both a response to the scandals and an attempt to think beyond them to a more comprehensive understanding of what they might meanfor Catholicism in particular, but more broadly for all the Christian churches. In five chapters, Jordan writes of speaking of secrets about sex and about same-sex love; the telling of truth to and about God; and acknowledging our feelings about God’s flesh. He also considers forms for suppressing and for offering truths, and the way language may reveal or hide them.
Praise for Telling Truths in Church:
"This is a major contribution to the telling of truth and truths. Jordan's analysis lays bare the fear and anxiety behind the silence and spins of church authorities; it is a profound and provocative book." --Donald B. Cozzens, author of Sacred Silence: Denial and the Crisis in the Church and The Changing Face of the Priesthood
After thirty years of attempting dialogue with the Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality without success, I have never ceased to be astonished and totally frustrated by all the techniques the Church uses to avoid seeing the truth of its failure to deal honestly with human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. At this point the Church is guilty of deliberate ignorance. At last, along comes a book that skillfully analyzes all the motives and methods the Church uses to avoid truth-telling in matters concerning human sexuality. Hopefully, the present crisis will persuade Church officials to begin to speak the truth and to dialogue. If they fail to do so, this book will be a great help in enabling all of us to see through the lies and deceptions they are using.” --John J. McNeill, author of The Church and the Homosexual and Taking a Chance on God
Mark Jordan, among contemporary scholars the premier historian of Christian Moral Theology, has written a powerful and fully (widely) accessible volume (little book) that (brilliantly) illumines the agonies of current churchly and theological disputes over sex and same-sex love. Adapting the framework that the great Jewish lesbian-feminist poet, Adrienne Rich long ago proposed for honest speech between women, Jordan probes the lies, secrets and silences’ among Christians and refocuses the debate to enable honest Christians to distinguish between churchly chatter’ and authentic Christian speech about sex, and especially marriage and Gay unions. This is a delightfully and refreshingly candid book that any intellectually honest religious person should not miss and every religious ethicist had better read.” --Beverly Wildung Harrison, author of Our Right to Choose and Making the Connections
Telling Truths in Churches brilliantly pursues three subjects at once. The overt subject is how churches, in particular the Roman Catholic Church in America, prevent, obfuscate, and distort discussions of sexuality that are crucial for religious identity today. Jordan draws out the witting and unwitting strategies by which the churches do this and offers an example of how to break through to truth telling. The secondary subject is homosexuality among Christians, which is the case-study for the first subject. Readers of Jordan's previous books on this topic will find this book to demonstrate once again that no one writes with such sensitivity, balance, and penetrating insight as Jordan. The third subject is what has now come to be called 'practical theology,' although Jordan would say that it is simply theology, the church thinking about its important matters. With no razzle-dazzle of methodology discussions or bows toward social science surveys, Jordan shows what "the church thinking" means when it searches to find and tell the truth. Theologians interested in any topic would do well to understand and imitate Jordan's genius at bringing classic teachings, urgent forced options, and a cacophonous discussion to a nisus of intellectual and practical resolve. This volume shows how to tell truth in churches on topics far beyond its overt subject.” --Robert Neville, Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Boston University and Dean of the School of Theology, and author of Religion in Late Modernity